Aletsch Glacier, Switzerland.
Greater than the mind can grasp
Until, in close proximity you stand
Cowed by its size-
Beautiful in grandeur,
Sweeping a wide curving path
From high mountain top-
For millennia gouging
Its curving, deep-crevassed, ice-piled,
Boulder-strewn, U-shaped path
Through immense, snow covered,
Treeless, granite mountains-
Unstoppable, utterly irresistible,
Until the 21st century's
Insidious warming, partnered
With apathy and denial,
A water-laden, gushing, ice-boulder strewn,
Slow, sad retreat.
The Aletsch Glacier (German: Aletschgletscher) or Great Aletsch Glacier (German: Grosser Aletschgletscher) is the largest glacier in the Alps. It has a length of about 23 km (14 mi) and covers more than 120 square kilometres (46 sq mi) in the eastern Bernese Alps in the Swiss canton of Valais. The Aletsch Glacier is composed of three smaller glaciers converging at Concordia, where its thickness is estimated to be near 1 km (3,300 ft). It then continues towards the Rhone valley before giving birth to the Massa River.
On August 18, 2007, photographer Spencer Tunick used hundreds of naked people in a "living sculpture" on the Aletsch Glacier in a photo shoot intended to draw attention to global warming and the shrinking of the world's glaciers. The temperature was about 10 °C (50 °F) at the time of the photo shoot. The 600 participants on the shrinking glacier volunteered for Tunick (a collaboration with Greenpeace) to let the world know about the effects of global warming on the melting Swiss glaciers. The Aletsch Glacier receded by 100 m (330 ft) between 2005 and 2006.